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Posted on: August 31, 2018 at 4:08 pm
Last updated: October 17, 2018 at 9:59 am

Spraying Roundup (an herbicide containing glyphosate) on fields just before harvesting is a practice known as desiccating crops. Yum! So the food at the grocery store that we serve to our families every day is saturated in a known carcinogenic right before we eat it?[1]  This can’t be a good thing.

Glyphosate is used to desiccate wheat, oats, lentil, pea, non-GMO soybean, corn, flax, rye, triticale, buckwheat, millet, canola, sugar beet, and potato crops.[3]

desiccating crops

The Origin of Desiccating Crops

Desiccating originated in Scotland. Like North America, the weather there can be cold and damp, which affects the rate at which crops dry out. Farmers discovered that killing the wheat crops with an herbicide a couple of weeks before harvest time forces the crop dry out evenly and speeds up the harvesting process.[1] Eureka!

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How common is desiccating in North America?

North America adopted the use of desiccation as early as 1980, but it has become more commonplace in the last 15 years. Desiccation is particularly popular in wetter areas– the upper Midwestern U.S. and Canadian provinces (Saskatchewan and Manitoba). It is less likely to occur in drier areas such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, and Oregon.[1]

“I have talked with millers of conventionally produced grain and they all agree it’s very difficult to source oats, wheat, flax, and triticale, which have not been sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest,” says co-owner of Minnesota-based Albert Lea Seeds, Tom Ehrhardt.[1]

Gerald Wiebe, a farmer and agricultural consultant, commented on the high usage of desiccating crops in midwestern Canada,

“I would estimate that 90 to 95 percent of wheat acres in Manitoba are sprayed pre-harvest with glyphosate; the exception would be in dry areas of the province where moisture levels at harvest time are not an issue.”[1]

The Reason To Be Concerned About Desiccating

Applying a herbicide just before harvest causes the glyphosate to be directly absorbed into the food crop. It cannot simply be washed off. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, desiccated crops do have the tendency to be more tainted with glyphosate. [2,5]

“It may be two percent of agriculture use, but well over 50 percent of dietary exposure,” says Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., who published a paper on the mounting use of glyphosate.[1]

How many things do we consume daily that contain wheat? Did you know that couscous, triticale, spelt, semolina, farina, bulgur, durum, and kamut are all other names for wheat?[4]

 Wheat Sources

This list is by no means exhaustive, but these are some possible sources of wheat:[4]

  • Baked goods: bread, cakes, cereals, cookies, crackers, donuts, muffins,  or pasta
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Food starch
  • Fillers in processed meat, poultry, and fish
  • Beer
  • Dressings and condiments like ketchup, mustard and soy sauce
  • Deli meats
  • Falafel
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein

“Can you imagine the public’s response if they knew that glyphosate is being sprayed on the oats in their Cheerios only weeks before it is manufactured?” ~ Tom Ehrhardt [1]

Health Concerns

Studies show that glyphosate upsets normal function of the good bacteria in the gut. Given the high amount of processed foods made from wheat, it’s no wonder we have seen a rise in celiac disease. This leaves us wondering if these food sensitivities stem from the wheat, or the poison it’s being saturated with. [4,5]

Monsanto (the manufacturer of Roundup) was recently found responsible for cancer occurring in a groundskeeper who had constant exposure to glyphosate.

Discover some other ways in which pesticides affect your health.

Reducing the Risk of Toxins In Our Food

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Shop Organic

The more GMO and nonorganic food a person eats, the more exposure to glyphosates. However, there are fewer toxins in organic foods. Always thoroughly wash, dry and peel fruits and veggies when possible.[5,6]

Grow Your Own Food

The best way to be sure that your food is pesticide-free is to grow your own. Use organic repellents instead of those containing DEET chemicals or insecticides.[6]

If you do buy regular produce, avoid the Dirty Dozen foods flagged by The Environmental Working Group (EWG) because of the pesticides they contain.

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1. Roseboro, K., et al (2016). Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?. Retrieved from https://www.ecowatch.com/roundup-cancer-1882187755.html accessed August 31, 2018.

2. DOZENS of Food Crops Treated with Pre-Harvest Roundup (it’s not just wheat!) | The Healthy Home Economist. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/pre-harvest-roundup-crops-not-just-wheat/ accessed August 31, 2018.

3. Roseboro, K., et al (2016). Grim reaping: Many food crops sprayed with weed killer before harvest. Retrieved from http://non-gmoreport.com/articles/grim-reaper-many-food-crops-sprayed-with-weed-killer-before-harvest/ accessed August 31, 2018.

4. Other Names For Wheat.  Retrieved from http://foodallergycanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/Wheat.pdf accessed August 31, 2018.

5. Mercola, J. Dr, et al (2014). Why the Use of Glyphosate in Wheat Has Increased Celiac Disease. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiac-disease-connection.aspx accessed August 31, 2018.

6. 9 Ways To Avoid Pesticide Residues In Food. Retrieved from https://bestplants.com/9-ways-to-avoid-pesticide-residues-in-food/ accessed August 31, 2018.

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